(Emergency alert test/Victoria Buzz)

Phones, TVs and radios across British Columbia will blare one tone in unanimity this afternoon, as the province tests its wireless alerting system.

BC’s bi-annual test is scheduled for 1:55 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4th, conducted as part of the national Alert Ready system to help improve public safety in an emergency. 

This year, the provincial government says it’s expanding the system’s use beyond tsunami warnings and Amber Alerts to include threats from floods and wildfires.

The change comes as floods and wildfires ravaged parts of BC last year, including Vancouver Island. In November, an “atmospheric river” swept through and washed away parts of the Malahat.

“The frequency of threats our communities are facing is increasing due to factors such as climate change, and this expansion of the Alert Ready system in BC will ensure we have every tool at our disposal to support public safety,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

BC officials say the wireless alerting system is online and ready to be deployed for flooding, expanding again to include wildfire threats by early June.

During today’s test, an alert will be broadcast on radio and television stations and compatible wireless devices connected to an LTE network.

The test message will read:

“This is a TEST of the British Columbia Emergency Alerting System, issued by Emergency Management British Columbia. This is ONLY a TEST. If this had been an actual emergency or threat, you would now hear instructions that would assist you to protect you and your family. For further information, go to: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca. This is ONLY a TEST, no action is required.”

First launched in 2015, BC’s Alert Ready system is a collaborative initiative between federal, provincial and territorial governments and industry partners. Today’s test comes amid Emergency Preparedness Week, which wraps up this Saturday.

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